sábado, 25 de fevereiro de 2012

'What about London?'

Last Thursday, a Spanish guy asked me: "And now, after almost six months, what about London?" I answered, without think: "It has a wonderful weather".

I am not sure if I can say that I know London - or any other city. And I am not talking about geography here - because it would be unfair. To know a city means, in my unimportant opinion, to predict in certain way how it would behave itself in front a specific situation. London, as a mystery character, always surprises me with a different angle for a not-even-imagine circumstance. Of course it is not a privilege of London, it also happens, in a different manner, to Rio, for instance. Rio has a tradition of reinvent itself, when confront to a no way out street. London invents newer ways to continue in the same road.

But, after almost six months, I can write one or two things about London without feel I am being frivolous. Yes, the weather is great, nothing compare to what we were waiting for. We knew that the temperature was not bad as in other cities in the regular Europe. It is very rare to see thermometer marking below zero - it just happened twice or thrice this winter -, but we know it would not be so freezing. We were afraid of the lack of light. And, despite of the December, when the sun was rising around 9 am and setting a little after 4 pm, we can not say we miss the sun [I, at least, don't].

But a city is not just it weather, or a city is besides the weather. And if I have said I would not talk about geography, I reconsider this right now. Because London has a particular way to divide the city. Mainly because, like other hundreds of cities in the world, there's a river splitting itself in two parts. Differently of Paris, it is not gauche or droit here, but North and South. The second division is historically. The old part of London, where there were walls and all the medieval stuffs existed, what is called the City of London, is in the Centre-East, but London grow up to the west, in direction -at least metaphorically- to the country side. Now, there is another part which the Londoners call "the Centre", and it is the West-End.

So the richest stays on the west. The oldest-nouveau-riche with their yet biggest tradition on the south, and the not-too-old-nouveau-riche [people like Paul McCartney, Madonna, Tim Burton...] in the north. The southwest has boroughs with royal names, but it is in the northwest where the queen herself lives, and you can find the parliament - this big English institution.

On the -hum- other hand, after a long time being forgotten, northeast had emerged again some years ago,  to be, nowadays, probably the coolest place in London. Where you can find what is the next thing about whatever you want. And the southeast... well, I don't have a strong opinion about this particular area - even had visited some times. Maybe that's why they have chosen this neighbourhood to the main competitions of the Olympics. They want to give it a remarkable personality.

Besides that, you can find Arab, Indian, Turkish, Jamaican neighbourhood here. And pubs everywhere. And also houses to bet. And off-licenses. In a certain way, the first impression still the same for a long time.

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